A Thousand Attempts at Goodbye

by Lara Wilson

She'd tried to leave him a dozen times over the years, but he'd always stopped her. When the intimidation no longer touched her, the threats escalated, and then came the violence, first to a beloved cat, then to herself. He never threatened or harmed their son. Perhaps he knew that she'd have done anything to protect him.

When he beat her, all she did was surrender and promise never to try to flee again.

She became the queen of groveling, hating herself for her weakness, but unable to save herself.

And so she stayed.

The years passed and Narcissa withdrew inside herself, growing more remote, more cold. When Lucius called his ice queen, he wasn't teasing. The darkness that infected their lives became a heavy burden and she found momentary refuge in her daily glasses of sherry and the endless round of shopping and parties. All pointless, but something to fill her days and nights.

When Draco went off to school, the loneliness was nearly unbearable, and she took lovers to fill the void.

They never did.

On the Dark Lord's return, she tried to run again, and the bruises Lucius gave her, the agony of the Cruciatus curse, kept her bed- ridden for weeks. She nearly gave up at that point, believing she'd never be free, that maybe even death wouldn't release her from the bonds in which Lucius wrapped her.

And then he was arrested.

Narcissa waited patiently through the arraignment and trial, appearing at every hearing as the doting wife, while her bags sat packed in her bedroom. The moment the gates of Azkaban closed behind Lucius, she would leave him.

She'd finally be free.

The glee she felt as she danced across the threshold of Malfoy Manor for the last time made her giddy and she laughed, running up the stairs for her bags. The darkness in her life was gone and she felt young, with the whole world waiting for her.

Entering her room, she skidded to a halt and stared in consternation at her son.

Draco regarded her cooly, his wand held loosely at his side as he stood by her bags. "Going somewhere mother?"

"Draco. What are you doing home from school?" was all she could to ask.

"Father thought you might try to leave him. He asked me to stop you." Anger crossed the young face and the wand rose to point at her. "Did you just think you could leave him? Say 'goodbye, good riddance' and walk away? No one leaves a Malfoy."

"Draco," Narcissa whispered faintly.

"Father will be back soon. Prison won't hold him for long, and he'll be so angry if you're gone."

"You can come with me, away from the darkness and evil. It's rot at the core of this family, Draco. Come with me...please."

He sneered and whispered a curse that sent her flying against the wall. As she crumpled to the floor, moaning in pain, he stepped towards her. "Father told me what to do, what spell to use to keep you here. You won't mind, mother, not really. I'm sorry, but it's the only way." Before she could raise her wand in defense, he spoke the words of the spell to steal her mind from her, and the last words she heard--would ever hear--were 'goodbye, mother'.

End

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